SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders postponed a meeting with state legislators on car crimes until the end of the legislative session this summer, hoping that Southington’s entire delegation can attend.
Town Council leaders want to see what changes legislators can make to help curb a wave of car thefts and burglaries. They invited the town’s state representatives and senators for a meeting with the council and the public on Monday but postponed since some legislators couldn’t make it.
“We were having problems getting people. People wanted to come, but they were so tied up with Hartford,” said Victoria Triano, council chairwoman and a Republican. “We really want their attention. We want them focused on this thing.”
“I think it’s important the whole delegation comes,” she said.Parties divided on auto crimes
The town’s response to auto crimes has divided the council mostly along partisan lines. Republicans hold six of the nine council seats.
Republican councilors, joined by a Democrat, passed a resolution in February calling on state legislators to make changes in the justice system. Democrats who opposed it called the resolution ineffective and said rolling back justice reforms that were working wasn’t the answer.
Republicans voted down a request by Democrats to add two more police officers to the force, saying without changes in state law more police wouldn’t be able to help curb auto crimes.
Democrats were concerned that the meeting with state legislators was only going to include Republican senators and representatives. Liz Linehan, a Democratic state representative for a portion of Southington, Wallingford and Cheshire, wasn’t able to make Monday’s meeting and is the only Democrat representing Southington.
“When they send a new date, I will ask a member of the Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee and the Office of the Child Advocate to join me so that there are informed decision makers and subject matter experts instead of just politicians, some of whom don’t even represent Southington,” Linehan said.
She was referring to Bill Petit, a Republican state representative from Plainville. Triano said he was invited since he introduced legislation intended to crack down on auto crimes.Questions from public, councilors
Chris Palmieri, the council’s Democratic minority leader, was glad that there’d be a new date for the meeting and hoped all the town’s legislative delegation could attend.
“It’s important to have them all there. Everyone has a voice,” Palmieri said. “They’re the ones representing us up in Hartford.”
In addition to Linehan, Triano said Petit wasn’t sure if he could attend Monday. With legislators busy in Hartford, she thought it best to postpone until a better time.
“We want residents to listen in and have the ability to speak directly to our legislators. The council of course has questions,” Triano said.